Susan Wright writes science fiction novels and nonfiction books on art and popular culture. New York City is her home, where she lives with her husband Kelly Beaton. After graduating from Arizona State University in 1986, Susan moved to Manhattan to get her masters in Art History from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. Susan is currently the Spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a national organization committed to protecting freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults.
TiamatsVision– For those unfamiliar with you and your work, tell us a bit about yourself.
Susan Wright– I’ve written over 25 novels and nonfiction books on art and popular culture. Right after I got my masters in art history from New York University, instead of becoming a professor as I had intended, I started writing. I was lucky enough to get an agent and in 1994, I published my first Star Trek novel, “Sins of Commission”. I wrote 9 Star Trek novels in all, and I have a new story in the Mirror Universe Shards and Shadows anthology coming out in January, 2009 called “Bitter Fruit”.
I’m also the spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. I talk to the media about BDSM, swinging and polyamory to debunk stereotypes and defend our communities’ right to hold events. NCSF is a great organization, the only one devoted to helping people in need. The website is www.ncsfreedom.org
TiamatsVision– You recently released a book called “A Pound of Flesh” which is a sequel to “To Serve and Submit” . What is this series about and what was your inspiration in writing it?
Susan Wright– These two books are about pleasure training houses in the 11th century – Viking sex! In “To Serve and Submit” , Marja is a submissive heroine who learns through her battles to save her homeland how to use her true nature to become a powerful woman. She falls in love with her master, Lexander. I got the idea from artifacts found in Newfoundland of Viking settlements, and I imagined what would that society be like if it had flourished. I knew the first “new world” settlement would include Native Americans as well as Vikings. Marja’s mother is a Skraeling and her father is Nordic so she straddles those worlds.
In “A Pound of Flesh” , Marja travels to Europe to save the slaves from the pleasure houses, but she has to fight Lexander, her former master and lover, to do it. I loved writing the BDSM scenes in this book because I think it makes the sex more creative – they aren’t the typical love scene. I have much more ability to move the story along during these scenes because the interactions are more intense.
TiamatsVision– Did you have to do any special research for this series?
Susan Wright– LOL! I found the leather community in New York City in 1991 and have been thoroughly involved ever since. So the BDSM is a completely natural expression for me.
For the Viking and real-world building, yes I did a tremendous amount of research. I also benefited because I studied art history for 7 years with an emphasis on the Middle Ages so I have a strong grounding in medieval societies.
TiamatsVision– Are there any future books planned for this series?
Susan Wright– Yes, but my editor left Roc and the future of this series is in doubt. At some point, however, I will return to Marja and Lexander’s story. They will go to Tantalis to deal directly with Lexander’s people who are enslaving poor misfortunates into their pleasure houses.
TiamatsVision– What got you interested in writing, and who are some of your favorite authors?
Susan Wright– When I was a young teen, I loved Heinlein novels. They were dated, but nothing could beat his story-telling. I was a passionate reader and that was always the most important thing”‘a story that could take me away and show me things I’d never imagined. Now I read mostly science fiction and urban fantasy. Also lots of 19th century novels, any I can get my hands on, so Trollope with his copious output is a favorite of mine.
I got a computer when I was getting my masters, and that’s when I became a writer. I’m big on editing over and over, putting together a story and layering in details, so I need a computer to create the way I want to. The words poured out of me. I couldn’t stop myself from being a writer, despite the hardship that it’s caused in my life. But being able to write full time, and create the books I want to, is worth everything I had to give up.
TiamatsVision– You’ve written the Dark Passions books for the Star Trek series and a book on Area 51, ” UFO Headquarters: Investigations on Current Extraterrestrial Activity in Area 51″ . What else have you written and what are you currently working on?
Susan Wright– My first science fiction trilogy is called Slave Trade. The first novel, “Slave Trade” , is available on a brand new cooperative of over 20 published authors – www.bookviewcafe.com. I’m really excited about this project. A bunch of us authors got together to create a fun website where we give away electronic versions of our out-of-print and unpublished work. I’m posting a free chapter of “Slave Trade” every Tuesday – you can read the chapters online that I’ve already posted, or download it. If you can’t wait each week to read it, you can download the entire novel for $4.99.
Currently I’m working on “Confessions of a Demon” and the sequel, “Demon Revelation” . They’re urban fantasies set in New York City, featuring a possessed human heroine, Allay. Demons are emotional vampires, living off the feelings of others. Allay has to survive in the midst of an ancient demon war without becoming anyone’s pawn. “Confessions of a Demon” will be published in October 2009.
TiamatsVision– How did you get involved in writing the Dark Passions books for the Star Trek series?
Susan Wright– My editor, John Ordover, came to me with the idea of writing a set of mirror universe novels featuring the “bad girls” of Star Trek. That was the working title but Paramount nixed it, unfortunately. They feature Seven of Nine and Kira Nerys as lesbian lovers, with Deanna Troi thrown into the mix as well. They’re my best-selling Star Trek novels, which makes sense, don’t you think?
TiamatsVision– What inspired you to write a book about Area 51 and tape an interview with UFO hunters? Is this something you’ve always had an interest in?
Susan Wright– I wanted to find out the truth about UFOs. So what better way than to write a book about it? I sold it to St. Martin’s Press so I could live while I was doing all of the research. Since Area 51 was getting headlines in the mid-90s, I focused on that. It’s not far from where my parents live, and I’ve always been curious about the adjacent Nevada Test Site where the nuclear bomb tests were held in the 50s and 60s. This fall, ten years later, I got a call from the History Channel’s UFO Hunters who were doing an Area 51 episode. I got to go back to the border of Area 51 where we saw a Pave Hawk rise up from a gully and fly right over the top of us, like it came up from the depths of the earth! It was really exciting to get to tell what happened. The episode is supposed to air early in 2009.
TiamatsVision– What is the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), and how did it get started?
Susan Wright– I started NCSF in 1997 while I was working on an ad hoc project for the National Organization for Women to overturn their anti-SM policy. It took three years, but we did it! While I was educating NOW about BDSM, I kept getting emails from women who were being discriminated against or losing their child custody during divorce battles because of their BDSM. So I went to 5 of the biggest educational and social groups and asked them to join a “coalition” for sexual freedom. We had the educational and social aspect down, but we needed an advocacy group to fight the stereotypes and stigma of alternative sexual expression. Now we have 55 Coalition Partners and almost a 100 Supporting Members (groups, businesses and events who support NCSF).
NCSF has lots of different projects – our Incident Response helps people in need, along with the Media Outreach Project. We also have an Educational Outreach Project that gives workshops on how to produce events and protect yourself. We also have a new project – the DSM Revision Project that is working to educate the American Psychiatric Association about the harm the current diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) are doing to BDSM practitioners and cross-dressers. There’s a petition calling for the APA to adhere to scientific research when revising the DSM. You can find that on the front page: www.ncsfreedom.org.
TiamatsVision– As Media Spokesperson for NCSF, what’s involved in getting the word out about your organization?
Susan Wright– I do a lot of interviews to influence the coverage of alternative sexuality. It’s having an effect – the term “consenting adults” has permeated the media and public consciousness. The vast majority of Americans agree that as long as it involves consenting adults, it’s nobody else’s business. That’s a welcome but very slow change that religious conservatives are trying to stop. There are groups that are dedicated to stopping gay rights and they dislike BDSM even more, so they attack our events.
TiamatsVision– What are some of your successful and more difficult cases?
Susan Wright– We have lots of successes! We help 600 people, groups, events, businesses and clubs every year. You can read the articles under NCSF in the News going back 8 years that reads like our greatest hits. We successfully defended Jack McGeorge, a UN weapons inspector who went to look for weapons in Iraq, when the media tried to discredit him because of his association with NCSF and BDSM. We successfully defended 5 major conferences in the Midwest in 2002 when Concerned Women for America spread lies that blood would flow in the hallways. We fought back Missouri State Senator John Louden when he tried to outlaw BDSM and BDSM conferences in that state. Last year we defended Kink.com when they were attacked for buying the SF Armory building, and we supported Folsom Street Fair when the Catholic League called for a boycott against Miller brewing for sponsoring the Fair because of their poster featuring Leatherfolk in a faux-Last Supper tableau.
TiamatsVision– What is a Kink-aware Professional, and what exactly do they do?
Susan Wright– NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals project is a free referral list of doctors, therapists and lawyers who are “kink aware” meaning they understand the special needs of kinky people. They have placed their names and information on this list, arranged by state and city, so people can find them. It really helps to have a therapist or doctor who understands about BDSM so you don’t waste time trying to explain everything. There’s still an appalling amount of discrimination by professionals, so most people don’t want to out themselves to their doctors. Also if you’re in trouble, you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars an hour explaining to your attorney the difference between SM vs. abuse. Kink Aware lawyers tend to be very helpful to those in the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities who are in trouble. It’s an invaluable resource.
TiamatsVision– If people want to purchase your books or find out more information about the NCSF, where do they go?
Susan Wright– You can go to my website – www.susanwright.info It has a link to Book View Café where “Slave Trade” is being offered in free chapter downloads. Also there’s a link to NCSF, and a link to my blog on Live Journal. There’s also links from my books so you can buy them if you want to. Or send me a question. I love to talk to readers.